Partnership for Safe Medicines India Initiative Hosts National Multi-Stakeholder Forums to Help Protect Patients
Education, Empowerment and Public-Private Collaboration Are Key Themes at Bangalore and Mumbai Events
08.28.13 | By Scott LaGanga
Across the globe, millions of patients are put at risk by counterfeit, substandard or otherwise unsafe medicines. As Executive Director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines in the United States, I traveled to India this week to participate in two national workshops hosted by the PSM India Initiative, an organization working to raise awareness and empower consumers across the country. Since joining with its Executive Director Bejon Misra in New Delhi and Mumbai to help launch the organization in December 2010, the PSM India Initiative has actively laid the groundwork to address this growing challenge. In fact, data collected by Drugs Inspectors across India over the past decade finds that up to 7.5 percent of medicines provided to Indian patients are substandard or unsafe.
In my PSM role, I have the opportunity to work closely with all stakeholders – government, industry, patient advocates and law enforcement – to explore ways in which we can work more closely together and advance near-term solutions. This includes unprecedented collaboration between the branded and generic pharmaceutical industries, which only goes to show that the threat posed by unsafe and substandard medicines is far too important for one organization, interest, or sector to be leading alone. Regardless of industry or constituency, we are all responsible for a successful outcome and must stay focused on the health and safety of patients.
PSM India convened a leading group of policymakers, health care stakeholders, consumer advocates and other national experts in Mumbai and Bangalore, which led to a series of candid discussions about how to best address this issue.
The message from each event was clear: patients deserve the highest quality medicines to help improve, extend and save lives. We couldn’t agree more. Ensuring the safety of medicines is a borderless priority, and efforts by PSM India in this area serve as a model for others around the globe to follow. As an industry, we won’t always agree on every issue, but it’s hard to find any organization or individual who doesn’t support the delivery of safe medicines to patients. Put simply, it’s a time-sensitive opportunity if we’re all willing to embrace it.
I’m eager to hear your thoughts: How can we help reduce the threat to patients and stop those who produce substandard or unsafe medicines? Please feel free to share your perspective in the comments section below. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we continue to broaden our efforts going forward.